H.H. Gaura-Govinda Maharaja and Bhavananda Swami: An Interesting Contrast in GBC Policies
BY: KRSNA-KRPA DASA
Aug 24, USA (SUN) In the late days of Srila Prabhupada's manifest lila, H.H.
Gaura-Govinda Maharaja (GGM) was personally told by Srila Prabhupada
to initiate. This is GGM's statement and there is no reason to
disbelieve him. However Maharaja did not have a tape-recorder handy at
the time. Post 1977 the GBC created their zonal-acarya system,
dividing the ISKCON cake into eleven fat slices. Of course this was to
become their poison cake, but at their enthusiastic onset, GGM was
seen as a fly on the icing of the cake of the zonal-acaryas. The GBC
insistently imposed a ban on Maharaja. He could not initiate - take it
or leave it.
In the late days of Srila Prabhupada’s manifest lila, H.H. Gaura-Govinda Maharaja (GGM) was personally told by Srila Prabhupada to initiate. This is GGM’s statement and there is no reason to disbelieve him. However Maharaja did not have a tape-recorder handy at the time. Post 1977 the GBC created their zonal-acarya system, dividing the ISKCON cake into eleven fat slices. Of course this was to become their poison cake, but at their enthusiastic onset, GGM was seen as a fly on the icing of the cake of the zonal-acaryas. The GBC insistently imposed a ban on Maharaja. He could not initiate - take it or leave it.
The Vaisnava that he is, GGM humbly complied for many years. He stayed in Bhuvanesvara, built the Krsna-Balarama Temple and translated Srila Prabhupada’s books into Oriyan. These were the other direct orders of Srila Prabhupada. As Time passes so does all material things, and so the zonal-acarya system broke down into disgrace. The GBC opened up the diksa-guru status and GGM was begrudgingly allowed to initiate in the 1980’s.
Preaching widely Maharaja soon attracted enthusiastic devotees to his shelter. Here was a truly potent Vaisnava, learned in the sastra and fearless in his preaching. His spiritual status was unquestionable. But this was exactly what the GBC didn’t like. Maharaja had gone on world tours and devotees wanted to be initiated by him. Eventually he was banned from world preaching by the GBC and told to go sit back there in Bhuvanesvara. Harikesh, then Swami, was particularly instrumental in this policy. He didn’t want that kind of devotee in his zone.
Again Maharaja humbly accepted, but the word was out: Here was a genuinely advanced Vaisnava. Devotees flocked for his darsana in Bhuvanesvara, though of course it was a silent secret. One time Maharaja went to the Mayapura Festival and at the meeting, directly told the GBC that Kali had entered into their midst - they were all prey to pride and envy he directly told them. (There is a rare recording of this meeting.) Needless to say this did not endear him further to the GBC. And the knives were out.
Maharaja returned to Bhuvanesvara after one Mayapura Festival and gave a startling darsana, which has been published. Maharaja stated that there was now “great danger” to himself. He clearly stated that many of the GBC were not following the regulative principles. Further he condemned the GBC for trying to decide siddhanta with a vote. How could the vote of neophytes unable to follow regulative principles be of any value. Moreover siddhanta was not subject to any vote at all-it must be accepted from the qualified acarya. Famously, he stated “does a goat become a dog by a vote”.
When this got back to the GBC, needlessly to say, the knives were not only out, they were being sharpened.
At the time there was big discussion on the “jiva-issue”. The GBC and BBT had adopted “falldown from Krsna-prema in Goloka-Vrndavana” as their version of “Prabhupada-siddhanata”. (The odd term “Prabhupada-siddhanta” had been coined because this view contrasted with all other known Vaisnava-siddhanta.) GGM, learned and realised as he was, said that this was ridiculous, the jiva had fallen from neutral consciousness - the tatastha state. Siddhanta can only be decided by sastra, not vote, Maharaja declared. Maharaja was fearless and unrelenting, but openly stated that there was great danger planned for him. In his final months, before his departure, it became obvious that he was praying to Lord Nityananda to take him from this world.
The Mayapura Festival approached and Maharaja was called to Mayapura. The presage was that he was preaching bogus philosophy (in the jiva-issue) and generally committing the ultimate sin in the GBC’s eyes-non-compliance with the GBC mood of ISKCON over-lordship. Maharaja had actually complied with so many of their strictures, but he reserved the right to preach the Vaisnava philosophy in an unadulterated form. At one point he was given a list of the items, which he had been observed preaching, (other than the jiva-issue) and was ordered to explain his statements. Interestingly, one of these items was Maharaja’s statements was that a disciple got a spiritual master in accordance with his sukrti, his transcendental credits. As the ‘gurus’ were regularly falling down at this time, this was definitely too pointed for the GBC’s taste.
The stage was set for a showdown at the Mayapura meetings. Amongst many GBC individuals the mood was that GGM must go, because he is not complying with our control. As said before, prior to the meeting Maharaja was seen praying intensely to Lord Nityananda. In Mayapura the night before he was due to confront the GBC, Maharaja gave a darsana. He was full of mellows that night, and looking upon a picture of the Lord clutched tightly to his breast, he left this world for the eternal world of the Lord’s service before the assembled devotees during kirtana.
Many understand that to save the GBC of committing the mad-elephant offence against this great pure devotee of Srila Prabhupada, GGM had left this world. Of course the ways of the Lord and His pure devotees are inscrutable to the materially conditioned, but certainly this was a great soul who walked amongst us. In response to a great groundswell after GGM’s departure, the GBC ironically added GGM’s departure day to the Vaisnava calendar. Krsna is the Supreme Controller and He will have His pure devotees glorified.
Now let us turn to the GBC’s treatment of Bhavananda Prabhu. Here is a confirmed homosexual abuser of minors and taxi-drivers. A personality that blasphemed the godbrother of his spiritual master on the ‘vyasasana’ in Mayapura. During this tirade, he violently threw to the ground a book of Sanskrit poems Sridhara Maharaja had written in glorification of Radha-Krsna. There are even statements by Sridhara Maharaja that Bhavananda planned to murder him. (This was in the period when the zonal-acaryas were trying to consolidate their control. Sridhara Maharaja had recommended that these “new acaryas” should start their own temples outside the Prabhupada temples of ISKCON. These established Prabhupada temples should be preserved as they were. Not a popular idea to the zonal-acaryas.) Bhavananda capriciously drove many of his godbrothers out of the temples of Srila Prabhupada. He failed in his duties as a spiritual master. And ultimately took part in the eleven-fold lie that the GBC imposed on ISKCON in 1977-that the eleven “paramhamsa zonal-acaryas were appointed by Srila Prabhupada”. The Big Lie that is the rotten foundation of the present guru-by-vote GBC system.
He is now back on that same vyasasana in Mayapura, giving classes and instructions, welcomed by the GBC as their “advisor” to the project. Is this on the basis of his past record. Yes of course. Yes of course.
What is that record you may ask? Simple: Go along with the GBC. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t question the validity of GBC decisions. Don’t quote the sastra against GBC decisions. Don’t say the GBC are concocting. Don’t say the GBC are ignoring Srila Prabhupada’s instructions for the continuation of the disciplic succession. Don’t preach the Vaisnava standards of behaviour. Don’t preach the Vaisnava philosophy fearlessly, As It Is.
In fact, Bhavananda sat on the GBC and was one of the main instigators when this system of managing ISKCON became established: “You are the sheep and if we want to fleece you we will. It’s your karma, prabhu.”
Bhavananda’s return to the upper echelons of ISKCON illustrates that the GBC have only one standard for leadership in ISKCON: compliance with their deviation from the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. If Bhavananda remains we can be sure that any attempts at reforming the GBC will simply find more opposition, when after two years he is reinstated to that body also.
For years a pure devotee, such as His Holiness Gaura-Govinda Maharaja was harassed and made to feel most unwelcome by the GBC. But now the flagrant active pedophile has been reinstated, even as the society is paying millions of dollars to the child victims of the homosexual abuse he set in motion with Nitai-chand and Satadhanya in Mayapur. We will leave the assembly of Vaisnavas to draw their own conclusions on whether the GBC are an assembly predominated by demons or devotees.
Welcome back to Mayapur, Bhavananda Maharaja, we are sure you will soon be initiating children again.